Enjoy the charming portfolio of fiber artist David Charity, who combines traditional skills with contemporary humor. See more by visiting his website.
I was always drawing and cartooning growing up, and took drafting in school. My ambition was to be an architect.
I quickly discovered the study program was too rigorous to be able to work at the same time, then changed direction and went to an electronics college. Through that training I became a printed circuit board designer. At that point, I gave up on my art until I reached my mid-40s.
I met my wife at work, and like a good husband I paid attention to her interests and learned about them. When she brought home her first art quilt from a class, I was immediately intrigued. This was an outlet for my creativity.
I developed a technique that incorporated a love for my cartooning and compensated for my partial colorblindness. I could make my characters any color and focus on composition and design elements. Understanding value and contrast, I use the color wheel to bring my characters to life.
My cartoon quilts all use the same basic techniques. I sketch out my ideas and characters and then scan my sketches into the computer. From there I scale and reposition the individual elements until I have a strong composition. I then print my pattern at 1:1. Tracing over each piece, I make a template for the fabric.
I use a wool blend felt to mimic the black lines of the cartoon. Then I place each individual fabric on the wool and adhere it in place. After all pieces are in place, I sew each of them down using a backing, batting and top like a traditional quilt. When stitched, this gives the pieces a textured surface.
I use black and white fabrics in my social statement pieces to portray the bleakness of these situations. If the cause has a color, I will use that color in the piece. For these I overlap the fabrics in a collage style. After researching and creating one of these statement pieces, I will design a cartoon piece to help recenter myself.
I’m a member of several art quilt groups and usually the only male. I have entered many regional and national shows. I’ve been in the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum’s biannual all male exhibit several times and an invited artist at Visions Museum of Textile Art in San Diego. I am a member of SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) as well as local and regional groups. These are a great opportunity to meet fellow artists, for exposure and learning.
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